Robotic arm helps Raleigh chef paralyzed in motorcycle crash regain use of his hands

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- More than four years of pain, therapy, and hard work have led to a milestone for a Raleigh man who beat the odds.

Four-and-a-half years ago, Michael Thor was just months away from opening his dream restaurant -- Whiskey Kitchen -- in downtown Raleigh. But his chef dreams came to a screeching halt when a motorcycle accident left him paralyzed from the neck down.

"All of a sudden it feels like my arm weighs 50, 60 pounds and I just can't lift it up. It feels like it's cased in cement or something," Thor said.

But for the first time in his journey of recovery at NextStep Raleigh, a new Myomo robotic arm helped him breakthrough that cement.

"The reason I love my job is because I can give them that movement back. I can give them hope. And hope is one of the greatest things we can give anybody," Heather Ward said.

SEE ALSO: Paralyzed chef's mom opens Raleigh gym to help him, others recover

The technology reads Michael's muscle signals and allows him to move his arm up and down and grip things with his hand.

"I think I had the same reaction as all of you guys. Wow, I cannot believe that it made it so much easier," Michael said.

And with some time and practice, he's defying the odds.

NextStep Raleigh will host its Bootleggers Bash in just a few weeks. It'll raise money for a scholarship fund and new equipment at the center. For more info on how you can donate, visit the center at 6601 Hillsborough Street, Suite 113 in Raleigh or call (919) 679-9405.
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